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La Belle Cuisine
Alternative Dressings for
For the past generation or two there has been somewhat of a
in our family about which dressing/stuffing would accompany the holiday bird.
When I was
a young girl living in my maternal grandparents' household, there
absolutely no question about it. Bread Dressing. (Years and years of living
Southeast has led me to refer to it as "Yankee Bread Dressing".)
point of controversy in those days had to do with oysters, my grandfather
quite the oyster fan. Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner without
oyster stew or
dressing (preferably both) would have been unheard of.
Since not everyone cared for
oysters , my grandmother did not include oysters
the dressing used to stuff the turkey;
instead, she often opted for
Scalloped Oysters or added them to the separate casserole
of dressing which was baked alongside
casseroles of scalloped corn or broccoli. This
seemed to satisfy my grandfather entirely, so that problem had been solved.
As the years went by, I became more and more southernized and in
the process became quite the cornbread dressing fan. Funny, but now that I think of it,
first time I recall eating cornbread dressing was not in the south at all. It was in
Wichita, KS in a department store luncheon room. My grandmother and I used
to go there
specifically for that reason, so I guess perhaps she was a closet
cornbread dressing fan.
In any case, my pleas for cornbread dressing on the
family holiday table were in vain.
Well just you wait until I have a family of
my own..... Sound familiar?
The issue has yet
to be resolved. One recent Thanksgiving in New Orleans
found three generations of the
family gathered for the celebration, plus a variety
of friends from quite diverse
backgrounds. We wound up serving four different dressings. Granted, that's a LOT of
dressing, but by the time Thanksgiving
weekend was over, there wasn't a morsel left! Just
take your pick...
Basic Southern Cornbread Dressing
There are probably as many variations of cornbread dressing
as there are
Southern cooks, but this very basic recipe is a very good starting point.
1 recipe of your favorite cornbread
4 slices white bread
1 large onion, diced
1 cup diced celery
3 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 cup turkey stock or chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
Crumble the cornbread coarsely into a jellyroll pan. Add diced or
pieces of white bread. Let the bread stand, covered loosely overnight.
In a heavy skillet
sauté onion and celery in 3 tablespoons butter until vegetables are softened but not
browned. In a large bowl combine the
bread mixture, onion mixture, eggs and turkey stock
(or chicken broth).
Add salt and pepper and combine well.
Transfer the dressing to a
buttered baking dish and bake it, covered, 15 minutes at 350 degrees F. Spoon about 1/3 cup pan
juices from cooking
poultry over dressing and bake, uncovered, 10 minutes more. Repeat.
Serve and enjoy!
NOTE: Some folks prefer a little variety. 1 cup of chopped lightly
pecans would be a welcome addition for many. One of the best cooks I
on adding finely chopped bell pepper. Many southern cooks
add chopped hard-boiled eggs. I
like to use scallions and an herb or two,
such as parsley, sage and thyme.
California Cornbread Dressing
5 cups crumbled cornbread
3 cups soft white bread cubes
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup chopped celery, including
1 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
1 cup chopped onions
1/2 cup chopped scallions
6 tablespoons butter
2 ripe avocados, peeled and cubed
1 cup chopped toasted pecans
1/3 cup minced fresh parsley leaves
4 eggs, beaten
4 cups turkey stock or chicken broth
(I figure as long as we're deviating from the norm here, we
may as well get
really bold with this. How about some minced garlic, cilantro, sliced
My personal preference would be ripe olives over mushrooms,
though I am a mushroom lover. Maybe jalapeños or my favorite Tony
Chacheres Creole Seasoning? The possibilities appear to be endless.)
In a very large bowl combine the crumbled cornbread, bread cubes,
salt, pepper and thyme. Sauté celery, mushrooms, onions and scallions in butter until
onion and celery are tender. Add to the cornbread mixture stirring to combine well. Stir
in the avocados, pecans, parsley, eggs and turkey stock. Spoon the dressing into a lightly
greased 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Bake 1
hour at 375 degrees F. Serves 8.
Let's kick it up a notch!
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Emeril's Andouille Cornbread
Emeril's New New Orleans Cooking
by Emeril Lagasse & Jessie Tirsch, 1993,
and Company, Inc.
"The taste of andouille is
so distinctly delicious, you absolutely cant
eat just one bite. Thats why this
stuffing makes a hit of any roast
chicken, pork, or turkey."
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/4 cup chopped onions
4 ounces (1/2 cup) chopped andouille sausage
1/4 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped celery
2 tablespoons chopped green bell peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Emerils Creole Seasoning
[or other Creole or Cajun
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 turns freshly ground black pepper
1 cup coarsely crumbled Jalapeño Corn Muffins,
[or other cornbread]
1/2 cup Basic Chicken Stock
1. Heat the oil in a large skillet over high heat. Add the onions
andouille and sauté for 1 minute. Add the green onions, celery,
garlic and stir-fry for 1 minute.
2. Stir in the Creole Seasoning, salt, pepper, corn muffins, and
and cook, stirring and shaking the skillet, for 2 minutes. Remove
immediately. Makes 1 1/2 cups.
Jalapeño Corn Muffins
1 tablespoon softened butter
4 large eggs
2 tablespoons seeded and minced
2 cups fresh corn kernels, scraped from
4 blanched ears of corn
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin with the
In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the jalapeños and corn. Stir in the
flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt. Beat in the milk and oil. Pour
the batter into the muffin tin.
Bake until golden, for about 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and
cool slightly before serving.
Yield: 12 muffins
(Obviously, if you insist on stuffing a turkey with this dressing,
the amounts will have to be increased considerably. MG)
Featured Archive Recipes:
Chef John Besh's Crawfish
Cornbread Dressing w/ Sausage
Holiday Dressing/Stuffing Recipes (Emeril)
Louisiana Italian Sausage, Cornbread
and Fennel Stuffing
Old-Fashioned Yankee Bread Stuffing
Sheila Lukins's Favorite Stuffing
To stuff, or not to stuff...
Index - Side Dish Recipe Archives
Thanksgiving Recipe Index
Daily Recipe Index
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